Seymour Biz will be getting the map out for Haydock, on Saturday. What are his best big-race bets?
There are two cracking meetings this Saturday at Ascot and Haydock. I shall be at the latter, however, the heavens have opened hereabouts and the going will be bottomless. Trainers have declared horses for different races at different meetings obviously with an eye on the going, so be prepared for changes to plans. At Haydock I hope for the best for Cue Card going for his fourth victory in the Betfair Chase, but for value bets this week i will look elsewhere.
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At Ascot at 2.05 we have a very interesting field for the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase, all the top trainers are represented with some very good horses. An interesting entry is Royal Regatta, pulled up in his last two starts at Aintree, he is back at Ascot where he has won twice previously. He was third here last February to Cue Card and is reported to have improved his fitness over the summer and is ready to run a big race under Richard Johnson at a big price. Smad Place is favourite for this contest but I prefer Josses Hill to trouble the selection, Nicky Henderson’s horses are on top form at the moment, however, I fancy Philip Hobbs to come out on top here.
In the 3.15, the Shawbrook Handicap Chase, San Benedeto is the selection. he ran a cracking race at Exeter at the beginning of November but found one too good. The pair did, however, finish 25 lengths clear of the rest of the field. Previously at Kempton, when beaten by Old Guard, he kept on for a clear second on the flat. He is a previous winner on this course and Paul Nicholls will have him spot on for this. Sire De Grugy won this race last year and is sure to run well, but he is now an eleven year old and carrying top weight of 11st 12ibs, the same as last year, that may be too much this time. He could well chase the selection home.
Over at Haydock at 1.50, the Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle, Air Horse One looks to be the one to be on. He ran a great race at Ascot at the beginning of the month but unfortunately hit the second last which took the wind out of his sails, finishing just over two lengths behind Elgin. This was very strong form. My favourite trainer, Henry Daly, has a horse declared in this race, Whatmore has won twice this term at Bangor and Aintree and deserves his place here. Daly’s horses do not run bad races and this 5 year old Is steadily climbing up the handicap, he is also declared for the 12.10 here at Haydock and should be respected whichever race he runs in.
In the 2.25 the Betfair Stayers
Handicap Hurdle used to be run as a fixed brush event, this year it will be run over the ordinary obstacles. Minella Awards makes her seasonal reappearance for Harry Fry, she finished last season with a fine victory at Punchestown and Noel Fehily can guide her to victory her again. He could face The Worlds End who is also making his first appearance of the season, but the selection is getting four pounds and I think he will strip fitter on his first run. The pair are vulnerable to a horse that has already had a run, such as Hello George who ran second three weeks ago at Ayr. I will however stick with Minella Awards on her Puchestown form.
Saturday Lucky Fifteen
2.05 Ascot Royal Regatta
3.15 Ascot San Benedeto
1.50 Haydock Air Horse One
2.25 Haydock Minella Awards